One of the biggest complications of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is peripheral neuropathy. This occurs because of damage to the nerves as a result of high blood sugar levels. In most diabetics, peripheral neuropathy affects the lower leg but in some people, it can also affect nerves in the arms, hand, stomach, and bladder. Diabetic neuropathy affects women and men with equal frequency. However, in men with Type 2 diabetes, the neuropathy tends to present much earlier as compared to female diabetics. On the other hand, diabetic neuropathy tends to be more severe in women as compared to men.
In general, about 20% of patients with Type 1 diabetes and about 50% of patients with Type 2 diabetes develop peripheral neuropathy. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy tends to affect the small nerves that are responsible for sensing pain and temperature on the skin. When large nerves are affected, the patient may have difficulty with balance and walking. If you are suffering from this condition and don’t know where to turn, then Chiropractic Health Center can help you start your neuropathy treatment in Greenville, South Carolina.
How Does Diabetic Neuropathy Present Itself?
Diabetic neuropathy can present in several ways, which include the following:
- Numbness and tingling sensation
- Painful sensations (this pain can be moderate-to-severe. In some patients, even touching the skin can induce pain)
- Difficulty walking and balance
- Muscle cramps
- Electric shock like sensations
- If autonomic nerves are involved, the patient may have changes in the heart rate and may also develop dizziness, constipation and urinary retention.
These symptoms can be intermittent or continuous and can seriously affect the quality of life.
When Does Diabetic Neuropathy Develop for Greenville Patients?
Unlike other complications of diabetes, the development of peripheral neuropathy depends on whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Most Type 2 diabetic patients have some evidence of peripheral neuropathy within 5 years after the onset of diabetes. On the other hand, Type 1 diabetics tend to develop peripheral neuropathy 20 years after the onset of the disease. This indicates that high blood sugar levels may not be the only reason for developing diabetic neuropathy.
What Else Causes Diabetic Neuropathy?
There is no question that high levels of blood sugar can damage nerve cells. However, it is still not clear why Type 2 diabetics develop peripheral neuropathy a lot earlier than Type 1 diabetics. Research does suggest that high cholesterol level, blood pressure, and obesity may also trigger the onset of diabetic neuropathy. Since these risk factors are more common in Type 2 diabetics, this might explain the early onset of peripheral neuropathy. Studies show that metabolic changes in diabetes lead to the generation of toxic oxygen molecules which attack the nerves and cause permanent damage. Diabetic neuropathy is also exacerbated or worsened by smoking and diabetics who smoke tend to develop neuropathy much earlier than diabetics who do not smoke.
Unfortunately, once diabetic neuropathy has developed, lowering the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, obesity or blood pressure does not always reverse it. This is a progressive condition even after blood sugar levels are stabilized.
How Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment for Greenville Patients
Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy treatment is basically focused on slowing down the progression of the disease and by relieving pain for the patient. In addition, neuropathy treatment also focuses on managing any complications of the disease as well as helping restore function.
As per guidelines, neuropathy treatment should target blood sugar levels between 80 and 120mg/dL for people 59 and younger with no underlying medical conditions. For people over the age of 60 and with other medical conditions, neuropathy treatment should target blood sugar levels between 100 and 140mg/dL.
Neuropathy treatment can also be more effective for patients if they follow these additional guidelines:
- All Type 1 diabetics should take steps to control their blood sugar levels
- All Type 2 diabetics should take steps to control not only their blood sugar levels but also their cholesterol, high blood pressure, and body weight.
- Diabetics should eat a healthy diet and avoid consumption of foods with high sugar content.
- Diabetics should exercise regularly
- Diabetics should wear protective socks and shoes
- Diabetics should never let any non-healthcare professional manipulate their feet or cut their toenails.
- Diabetics should ideally not smoke or consume alcohol.
- Diabetics should visit their healthcare provider regularly.
Seek Chiropractic Care for Diabetic Neuropathy in Greenville, SC
While chiropractic treatment is not a cure for diabetic neuropathy, it can be a supplemental part of a neuropathy treatment program and can help patients better manage the disease and control their pain. The Chiropractic Health Center of Greenville, South Carolina offers chiropractic care for patients who can benefit from such treatment. Call us today at 864-516-8917 for more information or to schedule a consultation.